Category Archives: Moratorium

The Ethics of Fracking

By Bernhard Debatin

As controversial as it is, fracking is not often discussed in terms of its ethics. The 37 minute-long video The Ethics of Fracking, by the Scott Cannon and the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, provides a good discussion of the various ethical issues of fracking. It shows that fracking leads to a number of ethical problems and serious side-effects, ranging from the contamination of drinking water, to air and noise pollution, to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and to disrupting communities and creating long-term risks and costs for our society.

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Take Another Look at Your Gas/Oil Lease!

By Austin Babrow and Alyssa R. Bernstein

“If I had known what I was getting into, I would not have leased my land.”  This was told by a resident of Wetzel County, WV, to visitors from Hocking College, on March 9, 2012.

If you have leased your land to Cunningham for gas or oil drilling, you may now (after the March 15 payout deadline) have an opportunity to reconsider your lease in order to better protect yourself and others.  If you do, then keep in mind that homeowners’ insurance does not protect your home or land from drilling damage.  Also keep in mind that it may be difficult or impossible to refinance or sell your property if leasing violates the terms of an existing mortgage.  Fracking may cause your house and land to lose their value. Continue reading

Ruminations on Fracking and the Moratorium

By Bob Sheak

As I understand it, the goal of SD-FRAC is to support a moratorium on the whole process that culminates in hydraulic fracturing and the release and recovery of methane from shale rock. Following are some thoughts about strategy and goals of this endeavor.

A Moratorium

A moratorium seeks to keep fracking in all of its aspects from commencing until it is proven by careful inspection and perhaps scientific studies that it will not pollute surrounding air, water, and soil or present potential harm to the health of people and other living beings, or result in the stripping of woodland, etc. A moratorium would also require the gas/oil companies to specify how they would safely deal with the waste water and other contaminants produced in the fracking process. Some of the requirements would have to be set by the state and others by the county. Yet others by the federal government (see also the SD-FRAC article Here’s why Ohio needs a moratorium on fracking). Continue reading

Athens County Commissioners Likely to Vote Fracking Resolution

This coming Thursday, the Athens County Commissioners are likely to vote on a resolution about fracking. The meeting will take place on Feb. 9., 9:30 a.m., in the Athens County Courthouse’s Annex, second floor.

You can express your views in advance by contacting the commissioners: 

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Reporting from the Fracking Zone

Presentation & Discussion on Fracking on Jan. 28, 2 P.M., Morton Hall (Ohio University)

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New Study: Severe Health Impact of Fracking

By Bernhard Debatin

A new study on the Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health (*) shows that fracking fluids, methane gas exposure, and other gas-drilling related contamination can have a serious impact on the health of both humans and animals. The study, conducted by private practice veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Robert E. Oswald of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Cornell University, investigated 24 different sites with gas wells, 18 of which were horizontal hydro-fractured wells. The researchers observed and documented severe changes in health of both humans and animals living close to these sites. The majority of the observed animals were cows; other animals included horses, goats, llamas, chickens, dogs, cats, and koi.

Bamberger and Oswald interviewed animal owners affected by gas drilling in six different states (Colorado, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas). In addition, they obtained lab test results and data from drilling companies and state regulatory agencies. The most striking finding of the study is the death of over 100 cows, caused by their exposure to fracking fluids or drinking of fracking wastewater that was dumped or leaked into freshwater sources. Continue reading

Here’s why Ohio needs a moratorium on fracking

This is a slightly revised version of a piece that was originally published in the Reader’s Forum of the Athens News on Nov. 23, 2011.  

By Bernhard Debatin

In his column on fracking (Nov. 17), Athens NEWS Editor Terry Smith admits that he sits on the fence regarding this issue, partly out of contrariness and to provide balance in a debate that he perceives as lopsided. However, when the facts are not speaking for balance, then there’s no point in presenting a topic in a “balanced” way. Here are some facts that should inform the debate:

It is well known (and not even seriously disputed by the industry) that hydro-fracturing has a massive impact on the environment. A preliminary report from the Shale Gas Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board of Aug. 11, 2011, identifies four major areas of concern: Continue reading